The Tyrosine Sulfate Domain of Fibromodulin Binds Collagen and Enhances Fibril Formation

Viveka Tillgren, Matthias Mörgelin, Patrik Önnerfjord, Sebastian Kalamajski, Anders Aspberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Small leucine-rich proteoglycans interact with other extracellular matrix proteins and are important regulators of matrix assembly. Fibromodulin has a key role in connective tissues, binding collagen through two identified binding sites in its leucine-rich repeat domain and regulating collagen fibril formation in vitro and in vivo Some nine tyrosine residues in the fibromodulin N-terminal domain are O-sulfated, a posttranslational modification often involved in protein interactions. The N-terminal domain mimics heparin, binding proteins with clustered basic amino acid residues. Because heparin affects collagen fibril formation, we investigated whether tyrosine sulfate is involved in fibromodulin interactions with collagen. Using full-length fibromodulin and its N-terminal tyrosine-sulfated domain purified from tissue, as well as recombinant fibromodulin fragments, we found that the N-terminal domain binds collagen. The tyrosine-sulfated domain and the leucine-rich repeat domain both bound to three specific sites along the collagen type I molecule, at the N terminus and at 100 and 220 nm from the N terminus. The N-terminal domain shortened the collagen fibril formation lag phase and tyrosine sulfation was required for this effect. The isolated leucine-rich repeat domain inhibited the fibril formation rate, and full-length fibromodulin showed a combination of these effects. The fibrils formed in the presence of fibromodulin or its fragments showed more organized structure. Fibromodulin and its tyrosine sulfate domain remained bound on the formed fiber. Taken together, this suggests a novel, regulatory function for tyrosine sulfation in collagen interaction and control of fibril formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23744-23755
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 4

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Basic Medicine


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